In the immediate aftermath of the Colts' biggest win at Lucas Oil Stadium in years, head coach Frank Reich handed the game ball to Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay – a recognition of how much Saturday's win over the New England Patriots meant to Irsay and the entire organization.
Irsay, though, quickly gave the game ball away in recognition of something bigger than Saturday's victory.
"I want to give this to Ryan and Emma Kelly," Irsay emotionally tells his team. "I just feel for them so much tonight with what they went through. I know how much you guys love them.
"Just remember, when you're with the Horseshoe, you're really at a place that authentically cares, okay – cares about you, your family, your kids. And when this short time goes and you have this tremendous career, we want to see you succeed in the next level of life. And that's what I always love seeing. I'm so honored to get this ball."
Irsay then directed his daughters, Colts Vice Chairs/Co-Owners Carlie Irsay-Gordon and Kalen Jackson, to deliver the ball to the Kelly family.
"That's who really deserves it tonight," Irsay says.
The Kelly family, tragically, lost their daughter last week. Head coach Frank Reich and director of player engagement David Thornton informed the team, and then led a powerful moment of silence during a team meeting prior to Saturday's game.
The rest of "Hard Knocks In Season: The Indianapolis Colts" sixth episode does a fantastic job showcasing special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone, who's become one of the sneaky stars of this season. Ventrone's history with the Patriots – he played and coached there – peels back the curtain in Foxboro a little bit.
"He's telling them to give us as many compliments in the media as possible," Ventrone says of Belichick. "He'll be like. Tell them how good they are. Just give them compliment after compliment after compliment."
"And then by the end of the week he's going to show them our deficiencies and where they feel like they can attack us and things they can capitalize on to give us the edge in the game."
We then get a glimpse into Ventrone's life at home – which starts with him forgetting what day it is thanks to the Colts playing on a Saturday, not a Sunday. Later, Ventrone tells Reich before the game: "I bought $60 worth of candy and I'm going to eat it all after this game."
And later, as Ventrone loses his mind screaming "I f––ing called it!" after Matthew Adams' blocked punt, we see that, yes, Ventrone did it again. "Hard Knocks" aired clips from before the Colts' Week 10 and 11 games of Ventrone predicting Zaire Franklin's blocked punt and Isaiah McKenzie's fumble, and for yet another huge special teams play, Ventrone proved to be a soothsayer.
"Matt Adams, you may end up coming, leaking free through that B-gap," Ventrone said in a meeting two days before Saturday's game.
- Ventrone's son had the quote of the episode: "Didn't the Patriots start it?" he asks after Michael Pittman Jr. was ejected after a scuffled with Patriots safety Kyle Dugger.
- "Bill gonna make you run after the game, I swear!" DeForest Buckner shouts as the Patriots escalated that scuffle.
- One of the coolest shots of the show came with Press Taylor explaining to Carson Wentz during the week the Colts' trick play that led to the game's first touchdown. Taylor was the one who, as a quality control assistant with the Eagles, brought the "Philly Special" to Reich and Doug Pederson's attention before Super Bowl LII – against the Patriots. The play the Colts ran against the Patriots on Saturday was a version of the Philly Special.
- "Gotta love that touchdown pass," Wentz says after the "Indy Special."
- Anyone else notice Parks Frazier's penguin was deflated this week? Bummer.
- Irsay leading a "Jonathan Taylor, MVP!" chant in the locker room was great – but even greater was Taylor's reaction, just to smile and shake his head. As you'd expect from someone who owns, but doesn't crave, the NFL's spotlight.